Posted on 08 January 2020
The lynx is slowly making a comeback in our forests.
In Ukraine, lynx are found in the Carpathian and Polissia Regions, and enjoy protected status. However, there is still not enough data about the lynx population and its trends. In order to develop appropriate monitoring and research strategies, establish current threats and to ensure proper habitat conservation and management, WWF-Ukraine and WWF-Poland have begun a joint data collection initiative. WWF-Ukraine launched the "Save the Lynx Programme
" to engage the public and improve effective conservation efforts at both the regional and national levels. WWF-Ukraine has received huge support in attracting national attention for endangered species, and the lynx in particular from water bottling company Morshynska.
The Carpathian-based company decided to focus on key natural symbols of the region, one of which is the lynx. Completely on their own initiative, they installed a bronze lynx sculpture in the small city of Morshyn (Lviv Oblast).
The sculpture, called “Reflection,” was created by young professional artist Peter Gronsky
. To attract even more attention to the cause, the company installed the same sculpture formed from ice in the centre of Kyiv just two weeks before the bronze sculpture appeared.
WWF provided expert lynx nature conservation content and messaging to Morshynska; highlighting the challenges this endangered large carnivore faces, and the research and restoration actions being initiated to protect it. The resulting national media attention reached approximately 6 million people. Supported by Morshynska and other partners, WWF-Ukraine has begun its first fundraising campaign devoted to lynx. The specialised donation page can be found here
In many areas, lynx were intentionally eradicated by humans. However, beginning in the 1970s, lynx were ensured legal protection and reintroduction programmes began. Lynx currently number around 9000 in Europe, of which 2300-2400 are found in the Carpathian Basin
. After several decades of low numbers, the lynx is slowly making a comeback in our forests
. The Eurasian lynx was once quite common in most of Europe. Thanks to conservation projects like 3Lynx
, the lynx population in Europe has recovered from only 700 to approximately 9000. These beautiful animals are still in danger. They reproduce slowly, and are still hunted and poached. Most original populations became extinct, or their abundance has been dramatically reduced in the last two centuries due to relentless persecution, landscape changes, and habitat fragmentation that hinder migration. In addition, non-harmonised (national) monitoring and management hamper a coordinated approach. The challenge is to integrate lynx monitoring, conservation and management into a common strategy at the transnational level.
The Eurasian lynx is a highly endangered species, protected under national laws and the EU Habitats Directive
. Adult lynx weigh between 20-35 kg, and measure 70 cm in height at the withers. The lynx usually starts its day at dusk, but during the mating season it may travel during daytime. Otherwise, they tend to spend their days resting in the shelter of a rock break, cave entrance, or under an old tree. Its menu consists mainly of wood mice, deer, fox, and sometimes unprotected calves. Lynx are territorial animals that roam areas of up to 400 square kilometres, meaning that lynx regularly cross borders and their home territories often overlap several countries
. Therefore, lynx require coherent forests to survive. One of the reasons for its rarity is that the lynx insists on undisturbed, dense old forests for its habitat, a condition that is becoming more and more difficult to fulfil in Europe. In order to effectively protect the lynx, a European approach at a scientific, political and public level is absolutely essential. Linking Central European populations with each other is the key for the long-term survival of the species
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